TOMMY Taylor's quest to revive an ailing Quakers team really began to gather pace this week with two narrow victories.

Darlington recorded their third 1-0 win in succession when a controversial penalty converted by new £10,000 signing Ian Clark was enough to see off second-placed Rochdale at Feethams on Tuesday night.

That followed an FA Cup first round victory at Kidderminster Harriers last Saturday, when Paul Campbell popped up with the winning goal.

Taylor has clearly made tightening things up defensively his top priority and three clean sheets in a row - achieved despite the loss of the injured Craig Liddle - has helped Quakers cope with a lack of finishing power.

The manager has also countered a lengthy injury list with plenty of diligent activity in the transfer market. Along with Clark, striker Dan Chillingworth and centre half Gary Caldwell made their debuts against Rochdale.

All three made a good early impression, with Clark in particular looking keen to win over the Feethams faithful quickly. He caused constant problems for the visitors and it was his cross which led to the vital penalty 12 minutes from time.

The handball appeared to be unintentional, but referee Uriah Rennie pointed to the spot and Clark made sure the slice of luck was not squandered.

Quakers had already been boosted by the sending off of Rochdale's striking prodigy Kevin Townson ten minutes after the break.

Suddenly a place in the promotion play-offs is again a realistic target, while Quakers fans are also looking forward to a decent cup run. The second round draw handed them a trip to face non-league opposition in either Altrincham or Lancaster City.

But before that they face a difficult league fixture at Scunthorpe United tomorrow, when Taylor will be hoping to build on his side's encouraging recent performances.

The Iron, traditionally tough opponents for Quakers, are seventh in the table, three points and three places above Darlington.